Child sex offender who tragic Gaia Pope accused of rape is jailed for grooming 15-year-old girl

Connor Hayes, 25, has been jailed for 21 months for inciting a 15-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity over the internet.

Three years ago the predator had been the subject of a police investigation after Gaia, 19, alleged he had raped her.

Police did not proceed with criminal charges against him.

However, Hayes was later jailed for two years for unrelated sex crimes.

It was while he was due for release from prison for those offences that tragic Gaia went missing having become anxious about him being free again.

After a massive 11 day search, Gaia was found dead in undergrowth on a cliff top near her hometown of Swanage, Dorset, in November 2017.

Dorset Police's handling of both Gaia's allegation against Hayes and the way it carried out the search for her is currently being investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The two police watchdog probes are expected to conclude in February.

Hayes has now appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court again where he pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and causing a child to watch a sexual act.

The offences date back to 2015 and were discovered when Hayes' computer was seized and examined as part a police investigation in 2016.

At the time Hayes was working as a webcam model, selling video and live footage of himself engaging in sexual acts.

Police found messages between Hayes and the victim which alluded to the her being aged 15.

He sent her a link directing her to a pornographic website and there were 53 Skype video calls between them in a six-week period.

She told police Hayes first contacted her via Facebook when she was 14 and during the videos he asked her to undress and perform sexual acts. He also exposed himself to the girl.

In 2016 Hayes was jailed for two years for a sexual abuse case involving a teenage girl.

Hayes and friend William Wright filmed themselves having consensual sex with their victim and then posted the video on social media.

The pair were jailed for charges relating to taking an indecent image of a child under 18.


Detective Constable Mandy Brimicombe, of Dorset police, said: "Connor Hayes targets vulnerable teenage girls for his own sexual gratification.

"He knew full well that his victim on this occasion was under age and that it was a serious criminal offence."

As well as being jailed again, Hayes was told he would be placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for ten years and a Sexual Harm Prevention Order he was already subject to was extended to 2028.

Hayes's mother, from Bournemouth, confirmed Gaia had made an accusation about her son.

In a statement November, she said: "My son had a brief friendship with Gaia Pope when she was 16 and had just started college.

"Within weeks of their friendship ending Gaia made an accusation to the police which was not upheld.

"To the best of my knowledge my son has not had any contact with Gaia since their friendship ended at least two years ago."

A spokesman for Gaia Pope's family said today: "The IOPC is still investigating Dorset Police's response to Gaia's allegations.

"It is to protect the integrity of this vital investigation that we cannot say any more publicly, except to ask that anyone with any relevant information come forward.

"Whatever happens, this all comes too late to save Gaia and save us the unending pain of life without her; but we are determined to do all we can to see others protected and justice done.

"All we can do is wait…and assure anyone out there who perhaps, like Gaia, feels ignored and afraid, that they are not alone."



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